Food and wine are our two favorite subjects … as you may have noticed if you follow this blog or are a fan of our Facebook page. Located in the middle of the Russian River Valley, the Farmhouse Inn is in the heart of a culinary and viticulture epicenter. Every week we share our newest food and wine findings with our fans, but this week we'll reflect on the changes in food and wine culture through the influence of the media. (We're impressed with our thoughtfulness too.)
Movies and films have had an enormous impact on our local industry, and social media and magazines continue to reflect these changes. Everything from “Sideways” and “Top Chef” to Bon Appétit magazine and Instagram are changing the way we think and talk about food and wine. Three examples of the media’s influence are shifts in wine preferences, the increasing popularity of the local food movement and the way we make travel decisions.
The movie “Sideways” has had many effects on Sonoma’s wine and tourist industry, the most notable being a spike in Pinot Noir’s popularity. The reverse of this is that Merlot is now a dirty word in some circles. Being located in the middle of the Russian River Valley, famous for California-grown Pinot Noir, we can’t say that we’ve minded Pinot’s new popularity. Besides influencing many people’s varietal preferences, the film also had an impact on many restaurant wine lists, the Farmhouse Inn’s being no exception - we have an entire page dedicated to California Pinot Noirs. “Somm” and “Bottle Shock” are two newer releases that reflect the public’s growing interest in wine and wine culture. (If we had known that being a wine nerd would be in-trend we would have declared our nerd-dom sooner.)
Television has also played a major role in changing our food and wine culture. Shows ranging in subject and content from Top Chef to Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations have had an impact. Words like organic, local and Michelin-starred are all becoming a larger part of our daily vocabulary because of shows like these.
A movement towards local, sustainable foods is something these shows have focused in on over the years, and you see the influence of these shows filtering down to restaurant menus. Just one look at our own Restaurant menu is like looking at a culinary map of Sonoma County – our fish comes from the Sonoma Coast, our peaches in the tart are from Dry Creek, the lamb is from Petaluma and all the herbs are from our on-site garden. We hope the local movement doesn’t disappear – we like what Sonoma has to offer.
Social media is also playing a large role in how we make our food, wine and travel decisions (even if we are reluctant to admit it). Whether a friend is posting photos of the bathroom in his hotel suite, or a blog we follow just posted a restaurant review, social media is influencing where we go and where we stay. Because of social media, there has been a rising trend of photo-journaling personal vacations and meals. We see it often at Farmhouse Inn– our guests take some great photos of their dinners, their tubs filled to the brim, and of course the glasses of wine they enjoy on their private patios. (Keep posting! We love it- just be sure to use #farmhouse_inn.)